Climate change biggest risk to enjoyment of the NSW coastline and marine environment

January 2017

NSW Greens Marine and Fisheries spokesman, Justin Field,  has called on the NSW Government to strengthen the network of marine parks in the state, including creating a new marine park for Sydney, following the release of a draft

New South Wales Marine EstateThreat and Risk Assessment Report.

The report lists climate change and reductions in abundance of marine species as the top threats to the social and economic values of our coastal and marine environments.

Mr Field said: “It is encouraging to see a NSW Government commissioned report recognise climate change as the biggest single threat to coastal economies and the ongoing enjoyment of the NSW coastal environment. Now it’s time to do something about it.

“We know that marine parks and especially fully protected marine sanctuaries offer the best chance to build resilience in the marine environment to be able to best adapt to the growing risk of climate change and other threats like overfishing.

“Climate change is not a threat off in the never never, the impacts are being felt now and the report recognises a growing threat over the next 20 years.

“Previous Government reports have recognised a critical gap in the Sydney region when it comes to marine protections, a marine park for Sydney would be one appropriate response to the growing body of evidence that threats to the marine environment are increasing.

“Currently less than 7% of NSW coastal waters are fully protected in no-take marine sanctuaries.

The report identified threats across three NSW regions, North, Central and South, where climate change, pollution, habitat impacts from coastal modification and fishing activities including recreational and certain commercial fishing were identified as priority threats.

“All users of the marine environment, whether swimmers, fishers, divers have an interest in improving the health and sustainability of the marine environment and ensuring we can continue to enjoy the wonderful coastal lifestyle and have fish for the future.

“The vision of the marine estate management program in NSW is for “a healthy coast and sea, managed for the greatest well-being of the community, now and into the future”. This report gives urgency to the challenge to address the growing threats to these values and in particular to strengthen the marine park network in NSW.

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